Jess Bet Me, five, was “injured, vanned off” in the 8th yesterday at Los Alamitos. “Injured, vanned” at Los Al is, for that track’s (Equibase) chartwriter, almost invariably code for dead. And indeed he is, as confirmed through an email from the CHRB: “The 5-year-old quarter-horse gelding Jess Bet Me was injured Sunday night during the running of the eighth race at Los Alamitos, requiring euthanasia.”

As the bodies continue to pile up – 29 at this track alone this year – we must continue to keep the pressure on:

Governor Newsom
Senator Feinstein
Senator Harris
California state legislators

As we have repeatedly pointed out, the bulk of U.S. Racing only still exists because of corporate welfare; if this slots spigot were shut off, over half the tracks in this country would be shuttered, virtually overnight. In short, the masses have spoken, preferring other forms of gambling and entertainment, but state legislatures continue to send lifeboats to Racing. This, of course, leads to a triple wrong: Using taxpayer money to prop up a patently nonessential industry, that abuses and kills animals, at the expense of schoolchildren (for whom, ostensibly, state-sanctioned gambling is intended).

Two recent articles underscore horseracing’s tenuous state and provide us advocates hope. From the AP: “New Mexico’s horse tracks and their associated casinos have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. After a brief hiatus, races resumed at Ruidoso Downs in May but without spectators and the casinos remain closed under a public health order…. Without the slot machines and tables, some track owners have suggested losses per day could reach in to the tens of thousands of dollars.

From Play Pennsylvania: “Racing purses are, by law, largely paid for via about a 10% cut of retail casino slot profits. That means the short-term financial picture for racing is not entirely clear as casinos are opening with capacity restrictions, meaning less revenue…. The long-term finances for the industry are also murky due to an attempted funds diversion by Gov. Tom Wolf earlier in the year. … Wolf’s [for now] shelved plan was meant to divert $204 million annually from the support of racing purses and breeding programs to a proposed scholarship program for PA students….”

Hope, indeed.

Two days ago, I reported on the death of Dapper Dan at the Great Meadow (Virginia) steeplechase. The recently-released Stewards’ Report summed up the death thus:

“DAPPER DAN, ridden by Graham Watters, hit the stone wall and fell. THE HOLY ONE, ridden by Archie Macauley, went down on landing due to DAPPER DAN’s mishap. DAPPER DAN fractured his left front leg and was euthanized on the course.”

But then this stark admission: “The Steward’s Report’s Official Comment from the 2019 International Gold Cup [same track] bears repeating. It reads as follows: The safety of the stone wall jump on the Steeplethon course should be improved. One possible solution would be to replace the turf cap with a half round telephone pole bolted to the top and to dress the top stones to smooth their jagged edges.”

So that’s one “mishap,” perhaps, that could have been avoided. Vile. Horseracing.

The California Horse Racing Board has disclosed yet another death at one of that state’s tracks. Street Gambler, two and yet to be raced, died (cause: “other”) at Golden Gate yesterday. It bears repeating that these what I call stall deaths are every bit the responsibility of Racing as the ones occurring on-track. Morally, not a lick of difference. Street Gambler, by the way, is the 61st horse sacrificed for gambling in California this year. The lie of “reform” laid bare, yet again.